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Smallfield drink-driver jailed for killing partner and injuring two others

The female driver was three times over the legal limit.

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A drink-driver who crashed into a parked lorry, killing her partner and injuring her two other passengers, has been jailed.

Robyn Smith made the conscious decision to get behind the wheel of her Nissan Micra after her work Christmas party in Handcross while more than three times the legal limit.

During police interview, the 30-year-old, from Smallfield in Surrey, told police she “felt fine to drive” and therefore did not book a taxi. But her decision proved fatal.

The crash, which occurred on the A23 southbound at Warninglid about 1.40am on Saturday 16 December, claimed the life of her partner Anghelus-Adi Pieptea, 34, of Wakehurst Drive, Crawley.

It also left passenger Ellisha Adams, 22, from Kenley, Surrey, with life-changing injuries, and their fellow passenger, a 20-year-old man from Copthorne, sustained minor injuries.

The lorry driver, a 40-year-old man from Mansfield, who was resting in his vehicle in a layby, was thankfully unhurt.

Smith was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries. A blood sample was taken from her which revealed she had 262mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in her system at the time of the collision. The legal limit is 80mg.

She was subsequently charged with causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

At Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday (12 September), she pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to four years and four months, and three years and six months in prison respectively, to run concurrently.

She was also disqualified from driving for five years.

The family of Ellisha Adams, who suffered life-changing injuries as a result of the crash, issued the following statement:

“We take no gratification with the outcome of this court hearing today (Wednesday 12 September). Our daughter’s life was destroyed on 16 December 2017, but equally so was ours and our family. She has been left a totally different person and a mere shadow of her former self, and now faces a very uncertain and difficult future.

“No punishment could ever compensate for the life-changing injuries our beautiful daughter has sustained or for the tragic loss of a young man’s life, both so tragically diminished by this catastrophic incident.

“Our sincere thanks go out to the emergency services who attended the horrific accident scene, the air ambulance, and the doctors and nurses at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton who all worked tirelessly to ultimately save our daughter’s life. It is impossible to find the words to express our deeply felt gratitude for their professionalism, dedication, care and support.

“Hopefully the sentence imposed will draw closure on this nightmare, and as a family we can return to caring for our daughter and helping her rebuild her life.”

PC Ian Foxton, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said:

“On 16 December 2017, Smith made a conscious decision to drive having consumed alcohol. That decision had disastrous consequences for all involved.

“Adi’s family have lost a son, brother and uncle, and Ellisha suffered horrific life-changing injuries.

“I would like to thank both families for their patience and dignity throughout the investigation.

“The message from this case is very simple: don’t drink and drive.”

If you’re prepared to drive under the influence of drink or drugs, prepare to face the consequences. These could include the following:

A minimum 12 month ban;
An unlimited fine;
A possible prison sentence;
A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;
An increase in your car insurance;
Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA.

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.

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Goodbye summer! Winter hours begin at West Sussex waste sites

New opening times start in October.

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From 1 October 2018, winter opening hours at all 11 Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRSs) in West Sussex will come into effect.

The opening hours for all sites will be 9am until 4pm and times will be in place until 31 March 2019.

More news: West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service search for on-call firefighters

There will be changes to the days some sites are open. Burgess Hill, Chichester, Worthing, and Crawley will open for six days a week during the winter months. Chichester will close on Tuesdays and Burgess Hill, Worthing, and Crawley will close on Thursdays.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“The changes are based around the demand for services at different times of the year.

“Reducing opening hours during the quieter winter allows us to keep sites open for longer in the summer months when demand is at its highest.”

Further information on Household Waste Recycling Sites can be found at www.recycleforwestsussex.org

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